Dear Ezra and Lian,
Recently I wrote someone and told them, “The world would be a bleaker place without you. Sometimes it’s a ray of sunshine. Sometimes it’s a bolt of lightning. You never bring gray clouds.”
They replied, “No one has ever said ANYTHING like that to me. I have longed to hear those words for 30 years. Thank you for saying the things that I need to hear. Thank you for treating me as though I add value to your life. Thank you for treating me as though I add value to this world. I don’t think that anyone else thinks that about me right now.” (No, this wasn’t my girlfriend. I wasn’t trying to impress anybody. I was just quickly expressing my gratitude to someone who brightens my day.)
I was completely shocked. For a lot of reasons, this was difficult to believe. It was very surprising. This person seems popular with a lot of friends. Then I thought, who else do I know is feeling exactly like this right now?
In the world right now, people can have thousands of friends on Facebook. They can have thousands more email contacts. Through the internet, one can easily get ten or a hundred thousand followers on YouTube. We can post a funny video and get 10 million views. What people don’t get, is a sense of being valued; even popular people. Everyone is just entertaining everybody else. We are all just providing viewing content, click bait, eye candy and mental floss to each other. We like their photos or posts, but that’s it. What people really want and need is anybody, one person even, to say that they are essential, that they matter. That is the very thing they rarely or never get. For some, they’ve never had that once in their entire lives.
Ezra, this is especially for you. I have had numerous adults tell me how you encourage them. Often you say something to them that makes them smile. Sometimes, it’s a quote from you I put on the blog. Hey, I know you would like to have a close friend your own age right now. In life, take your friends wherever you can find them. When I was your age, I always related better to adults than teens. A mentor told me once, that I was 15, going on 30. For a long time, Mommy has called you her little old man. Just because somebody is a 43 year old man or 68 year old woman doesn’t make them any less of a friend when you are only 12. A real true friend is a rare and valuable thing. Treasure them always.
When someone makes your day better, use your words, “Thanks for making my day better.” I fully intend on modeling this for both of you. If the waitress or cashier gives great service and does everything right, I’m going to let her know she made my day better. If the mechanic does a great job at a great price, I’m going to let him know he has really helped me out and post it on his online reviews. If people for years have been a source of joy in my life, I should tell them. I resolve to do so. In this seemingly small way, you can change someone’s life. Maybe it will lead to some new and unexpected friends. You can be the reason people get up in the morning. One cheerful, truthful, and encouraging comment can keep someone going for a long time. They will need you in their life. You will make yourself indispensable.
On January 5, 2004 and March 3, 2011 my life was made so much better. I treasure you in my life. Without you, the world would be a less joyful place. It would be less interesting and colourful. During some of the darkest days of my life, you gave me a reason to get up out of bed and to keep trying. You were and are my sunshine. Ezra and Lian, I will always cherish you.
P. S. To all my dearezraandlian readers, if any of you need a note of encouragement, send me a message. We can be your encouragement.